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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Synopses & Reviews
In this revised and expanded edition of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Predictably Irrational, Duke University's behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores the hidden forces that shape our decisions, including some of the causes responsible for the current economic crisis. Bringing a much-needed dose of sophisticated psychological study to the realm of public policy, Ariely offers his own insights into the irrationalities of everyday life, the decisions that led us to the financial meltdown of 2008, and the general ways we get ourselves into trouble.
Blending common experiences and clever experiments with groundbreaking analysis, Ariely demonstrates how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities. As he explains, our reliance on standard economic theory to design personal, national, and global policies may, in fact, be dangerous. The mistakes that we make as individuals and institutions are not random, and they can aggregate in the market—with devastating results. In light of our current economic crisis, the consequences of these systematic and predictable mistakes have never been clearer.
Packed with new studies and thought-provoking responses to readers' questions and comments, this revised and expanded edition of Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world—from the small decisions we make in our own lives to the individual and collective choices that shape our economy.
Best-selling author Ulrich Boser explores how we and the institutions we rely on have much to gain from emphasizing and rebuilding trust.
Trust is central to almost every human interaction—and even small attempts to improve our faith in others can have a big payoff. People who trust more are happier, live longer, and even have more sex.
To examine how and why we trust, Ulrich Boser visits a radio soap opera in Rwanda that aims to restore a nations broken faith and talks to the man who brought honesty back to one of the most corrupt cities in Latin America. He tests out oxytocin, the “trust hormone,” and has scientists evaluate his brain as he competes in a cooperation game. He even jumps out of an airplane to better understand his trust in others. The result is a surprising narrative that will appeal to a wide audience, including readers who enjoy books like Nudge, Willpower, and Moonwalking with Einstein.
The Leap uses science and psychology to illustrate how trust contributes to personal longevity and a sense of fulfillment, and how we can take active steps to restore trust in our lives and in our culture.
"A marvelous book… thought provoking and highly entertaining."
—Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think
"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely offers a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that led to our current economic crisis.
About the Author
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His work has been featured in many outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and others. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Sumi, and their two creative children, Amit and Neta.
Table of Contents
Authors Note ix
Part I: Why We Trust
1. The Social Instinct 3
2. The Chemical of Trust: Love, Sex, and Hormones 18
3. Reciprocity, Indirect Reciprocity, and What We
Can Learn from Hector Ramirez 29
4. How We Trust: The Lessons of Clark Rockefeller 51
5. Whats Fair Is Fair: The Art of Equity 66
6. Trusting Too Much: Risk, Reason, and Diversity 77
7. Can We Trust Again?: Learning from Rwanda 90
Part II: How We Can Improve Trust
8. Teams: “Go on Faith and Knowledge” 107
9. Markets: Why Trade Builds Trust 116
10. Government: Trusting the Tax Man 126
11. Democracy: “Encouraging You to Be Nasty” 139
12. Technology: Communication, Community,
and Couchsurfing 152
13. Path Forward: Sometimes We Need to Leap 164
Trust by State 179
Toolkit for Policymakers 181
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